Fayetteville Roots Festival highlights local food, farmers

Graphic: Fayetteville Roots Festival

Del McCourey, Iris Dement, Jerry Douglas, John Fullbright, and Hayes Carll. Those are a few of the headliners set to perform at the fourth annual Fayetteville Roots Festival, but the musicians aren’t the only ones who’ll be treated like rockstars this weekend.

According to chef and festival co-founder Jerrmy Gawthrop, Fayetteville Roots Festival is about local food just as much as it is about music, and the farmers and chefs that grow and prepare the food are as essential as the musicians.

“Since we started this event, the food has been a huge component,” Gawthrop said. “We really try to get the farmers involved, and really want to celebrate the ‘farmers of the fest.'”

Gawthrop has enlisted 12 local farmers and farming organizations who donate food for the Thursday night opening party – typically items that are overly abundant or in surplus – in exchange for access and exposure at the festival. Gawthrop in turn purchases meat, cheeses and produce from the local farmers for chefs from Greenhouse Grille, Ella’s Restaurant, and Brick House Kitchen to use in various meals sold and distributed at the festival.

“It ends up being a cool thing for the farmers, who get some recognition and exposure, and we end up with food that you don’t typically see at a music festival,” he said.

Gawthrop said this year’s menus are still being tweaked, but that each chef would be working around their own theme. “We’re (Greenhouse Grille) doing a locally sourced pork barbecue, David Lewis (Brick House Kitchen) is doing curry dishes, and Ella’s is working on a Spanish theme.

“It’s all going to be good, hearty festival food. And it’s going to be awesome,” he said.

Food is included in the ticket price each day for all four-day ticket holders at the festival, and the restaurants will have meals for sale both Friday and Saturday night at the Walton Arts Center.

Other food vendors involved with the festival include Siloam Springs-based Pure Joy Ice Cream, PH Alchemy (simple syrups and infusions), Nomad’s Natural Plate, Flying Burrito Co. and others.

For more information about the food and the farmers coming to Fayetteville Roots Festival, visit fayettevilleroots.com.